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Old January 15 2014, 02:08 AM   #1
Sran
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Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

I recently started reading the second Federation Department of Temporal Investigations novel, Forgotten History. I've enjoyed the novel so far but had a question about a comment made by Spock early in the text:



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Old January 15 2014, 02:15 AM   #2
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

There is no "unaltered" flow of history. Spock was always supposed to be his own 'cousin Selek' and save himself as a child. The only reason there was an alternate timeline is because two different periods of Vulcan history were being viewed at the same time, and Spock couldn't be in both of them, so he was 'erased' from one of them - thus giving rise to the Thelin timeline.
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Old January 15 2014, 02:16 AM   #3
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

I haven't read the book, but I think that the timeline change Spock is referring to is that, before the events of "Yesteryear," I-Chaya didn't die during Spock's kahs wan. When Spock "restored" the timeline, there was that small change.
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Old January 15 2014, 03:18 AM   #4
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

There is no "supposed to happen." That implies destiny or a divine plan or something unscientific like that. However, it's clear enough that the Thelin timeline is the way things would have played out had time travel not been involved. However, time travel was involved; Spock Prime's worldline (at least up through 2269) is a self-consistent loop that generates itself through reverse causation. So we have an unusual situation in which two timelines are intertwined.

The mistake people make when talking about time travel is insisting on an "original" timeline followed by a "new" timeline. The problem is that they're talking about two different versions of the same span of time, which are by definition simultaneous, therefore it's meaningless to say one comes before the other. The time traveler's subjective perception may be that one comes before the other, but that's just because they went backward and relived the same span of time, like if you watch one 8 PM TV show live and then watch another 8 PM show that you recorded on your DVR. As far as the rest of the universe is concerned, they happened simultaneously. So a time travel doesn't "change" the way the multiverse unfolds; the time-travel event is simply part of the shape of the timelines at that segment of time. It was there "all along" even if you didn't know about it until you went back and discovered it.

Don't ask me to explain the I-Chaya thing, though. That bit never made much sense.
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Old January 15 2014, 04:03 AM   #5
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

Christopher wrote: View Post
Don't ask me to explain the I-Chaya thing, though. That bit never made much sense.
I always attributed that to young Spock's memory not being perfect.

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Old January 16 2014, 12:16 AM   #6
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

I always took it that the "Yesteryear" timeline was not correctly reset. The only difference was seemingly the earlier-than-previously death of a pet. In the grand scheme of things, it was a hiccup most of the participants can live with. Some pet owners may disagree, of course, and that's our moral dilemma for the episode, as suggested by Spock.
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Old January 16 2014, 12:58 AM   #7
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

But again, the idea that there is a "reset" at all, that there's a "before" and "after" version of the same span of time, is self-contradictory and ridiculous if you really think about it. The perception that one comes "before" the other is an illusion created by the time travelers' movement back along their own timestream, causing them to experience the same span of time in two or more consecutive instances. It's a subjective perception that does not represent the objective reality. In order to evaluate a timeline interaction, you have to treat all the different timelines as coexisting simultaneously, to see the entire process from beginning to end as a single complete, timeless event. Visualizing the timestreams as parallel lines on a chart can help with this.
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Old January 16 2014, 01:10 AM   #8
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

Christopher wrote: View Post
Visualizing the timestreams as parallel lines on a chart can help with this.
Sure. In one parallel line, Spock is replaced by Thelin.

In another parallel line, Cousin Selek never visited and i-Chaya died when Spock was an adult.

In another parallel line, Cousin Selek visited Spock as a young boy and i-Chaya died when Spock was an adult.

In another parallel line, i-Chaya died when Spock was a child.

In another parallel line, Bates and Erikson swapped positions. ("Crucible: Spock")
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Old January 16 2014, 02:00 AM   #9
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

There is no timeline where Selek never visited and Spock survived. That's the whole point of the episode -- that without the adult Spock to go back and save his young self, there is no adult Spock. It's a self-consistent time loop. People are constantly making the mistake of assuming that such a loop has to replace some "original" or "pure" timeline with no time travel at all, but again that's making the mistake of failing to look beyond subjective perceptions of before-and-after causality. Where time travel is concerned, it is perfectly possible for an event to cause itself -- not as a "change" from some pristine original, but as the only way it ever happened.
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Old January 16 2014, 02:13 AM   #10
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

Christopher wrote: View Post
There is no timeline where Selek never visited and Spock survived. That's the whole point of the episode -- that without the adult Spock to go back and save his young self, there is no adult Spock. It's a self-consistent time loop. People are constantly making the mistake of assuming that such a loop has to replace some "original" or "pure" timeline with no time travel at all, but again that's making the mistake of failing to look beyond subjective perceptions of before-and-after causality. Where time travel is concerned, it is perfectly possible for an event to cause itself -- not as a "change" from some pristine original, but as the only way it ever happened.
So Steven Moffat was not completely wrong when he wrote that, "People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff."
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Old January 16 2014, 02:37 AM   #11
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

Well, it is a progression of cause to effect, but they don't have to come in that order.
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Old January 16 2014, 05:55 AM   #12
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

Christopher wrote: View Post
There is no timeline where Selek never visited and Spock survived. That's the whole point of the episode -- that without the adult Spock to go back and save his young self, there is no adult Spock. It's a self-consistent time loop. People are constantly making the mistake of assuming that such a loop has to replace some "original" or "pure" timeline with no time travel at all, but again that's making the mistake of failing to look beyond subjective perceptions of before-and-after causality. Where time travel is concerned, it is perfectly possible for an event to cause itself -- not as a "change" from some pristine original, but as the only way it ever happened.
Kind of like how John Connor came into existence in the Terminator franchise?
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Old January 16 2014, 07:06 PM   #13
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

SicOne wrote: View Post
Kind of like how John Connor came into existence in the Terminator franchise?
Yes. Because the Terminator went back in time to prevent his birth, it actually caused the circumstances (Reese traveling back to stop Sarah's murder) that led to Connor's birth.

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Old January 17 2014, 02:05 AM   #14
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

Hmm. I'm reminded of a Starlog article from the 1980s, asserting that the Marty McFly who was born in the timeline that had a "Twin Pines Mall" had a lot of unpleasant surprises waiting for him when he came "back to the future."

Which suggests that the timeline in which I-Chaya died in Spock's childhood, and the timeline in which I-Chaya died while Spock was an adult, generated each other.
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Old January 17 2014, 02:20 AM   #15
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Re: Question Regarding DTI: Forgotten History

^Err, when was there a timeline where I-Chaya died when Spock was an adult? I-Chaya was clearly elderly already in "Yesteryear," so it makes no sense to think he lived another 20 or 30 years. All we know is that Spock didn't remember him dying as a result of a le-matya attack during his premature Kahs-wan. The "original" version may have had I-Chaya being peacefully put to sleep by the vet a couple of years later.
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